I'm Overweight: How Can I Lose Weight & Get Stronger?
"I am 5'x and about 75 lbs overweight. The doctor says I have to lose weight or start taking xyz medications. How can I lose weight and get stronger in the least amount of time?"
I can't say this is the doctor recommended approach, but here's what I did to lose 150 pounds in about a year, and what has worked best to make me stronger whilst eating similarly.
Low Carb Diet
Paleo, Atkins, Primal, I don't really care what trendy name you want to put on it. Stop eating refined poison, eat lots of meat and natural fats, keep your usable carbs below 30g a day. Usable carbs will be defined as the carbs leftover from the total after subtracting fiber. Eating this way, you will probably feel like ass for a couple days, but it gets better soon.
You will lose a LOT of weight the first week or two. Most of this is water, so don't get too excited. After that first week, the weight lost is no longer from water flushing out, so feel free to throat punch anyone who tells you that you aren't really losing fat.
Losing water at this point is a good thing. The lowered water retention will actually reduce your blood pressure and can keep you off those sort of drugs.
I'm assuming you had your bloodwork done. Eat like this for 3 months and get it done again. I've you successfully kept your carbs low and eaten well, your cholesterol panel will improve a hell of a lot more than cherrios could ever hope to do. Mine personally improved by 1300 points (yes, 1300) in 6 months.
Now to address foods. Don't buy the gimmicky crap yet. Eat meat (not lean meat, if you lower your fat very low on this type of diet you will screw yourself up), eggs, non starchy veggies. No fruit or nuts for the first few weeks. Add things in SLOWLY, maybe in increments of 10g carbs a day, but only one increment per week. You'll find a sweet spot after a while where you are losing weight and fat but have a little more energy and just feel better all around.
As to getting strong, lift heavy things. Thats it really. Deadlift, Squat, Bench, Overhead Press, and Chin your way to victory. Work on getting your form right, and then add weight as often as possible whilst keeping proper form.
Don't be afraid to do cardio too. It will improve your athletic performance, your health, and you are more likely to meet attractive people on the treadmill than laboring away in the squat rack, which is where I expect you to be 3 times a week. Curl in it at your own risk.
Each person has to be given their own individual context and this begins with the personal interview (whether by e-mail, in-person, or by telephone) to learn lifestyle (work, etc), personal particulars (such as: medications and what type they are to see if anything is relevant to their loss quest, health or physical issues, age, sex, weight, etc), exercise equipment (at home, gym, or have to use body weight), recent history, and other important information that point to and address successful completion.
For example: What if the person is a diabetic? Is a low carb diet the best solution? Potentially, not.
I'll throw this out there for thought on the subject of diabetes. From my research and own experience, low carb is the best solution for diabetics. I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2008 and by the end of 2009 I no longer needed medication for it, all done by losing weight and controlling my carb intake. Some may not respond the way I did, but its a great place to start.
My main point really, is that we have to take each person on their own individual characteristics, consider what they have to train with, and other variables, and set up diet and training around this premise.
How was your day, Brute? :)
As to my day, its good, but being back on a cutting diet is harder that giving up smoking or drinking for me. Down 9 pounds in 2 days using my low carb approach, and my blood sugar is staying stable so the cravings are under control. Hope things are going well in your neck of the woods. :mh:
Jumping back to individualizing things, I have a lot of conflicting thoughts about it and realize that
1. I haven't been training all that long, and
2. I'm still pretty young compared to many of the folks over here
but here are the thoughts of a young man coming up on 30 more quickly than he would like to admit.
A certain level of individualization is good. I'm going to use terms from my industry and say personalization and customization. Personalization is tailoring minor aspects to meet your preferences, while customization is a major overhaul of the system. I think everyone needs to personalize their training and diet, but very few need to customize right away.
Some may function better on a higher carb diet, some may do well on low carb, some may need 40g carbs or 20g or 100g. For the average fat guy, we'll personalize the routine and diet as we go and as we learn how he responds. For a diabetic or someone with some other metabolic syndrome, we can customize to take their specific situation in account, just as we wouldn't prescribe squats to someone missing a leg.
However, as a general thing, a low carb diet isn't a bad place to start. People need to know their own situation before embarking on something as extreme as that, and if they know its bad for them, they shouldn't do it. Much the same as I knew that carbs were not good for me, but I tried increasing them for several months because all the guys with big arms at the gym said I needed to.
To sum up, we only customize when there is an over-arching need, but personalize everything so that it takes the individuals unique characteristics into account and maximizes their experience.
Are you adding in any fibrous foods or supplementing with any fiber at the moment?
I wish you much success with your low carb approach, Brute. If I can help you in any way, let me know. I have done low carb diet quite a few times.
Life is good for me thanks for asking.
Have a great day, Brute.
I am going to present something that works for me, and I believe will work well for overweight men.
This approach will work well if you are:
1) A big night eaters.
2) A heavy junk eater. Not a lot of natural foods.
3) Graze during the day, but don't eat a big breakfast, nor feel like you need one.
4) Feel sluggish and tired often during the day.
Here are the rules for "BTB's Caveman Fasting" approach. (Name only for reference)
Intermittent fasting. First and foremost I recommend a variation of intermittent fasting. Before 5 pm you eat 500 calories or less. This consists of low glycemic fruits, protein foods and foods with natural fats. Suggestions include:
--Strawberries and blueberries
--Jerky and string cheese
--Pure Whey Isolate
This sounds counterintuitive, but you will actually feel more awake during the day eating in this manner. You will also be able to build strength if using a sensible workout plan.
Nightly Paleo feeding. During the night you are allowed anywhere between 1300 to 2000 calories to be eaten any time from 5 pm to bedtime. How much you eat depends on metabolism, age, etc. You may need to make adjustments.
This Paleo feeding avoids grains (including corn), progressed sugars, progressed flour, corn syrup, legumes (peas, peanuts), and fake foods like margarine.
You do NOT want to avoid fatty natural foods. The combination of a low carb and low fat diet is not a wise one. So make sure you are eating plenty of fat.
--Butter, cheese, sour cream and some whole milk
--Red meat, seafood, poultry, game meats, organ meat, skin (chicken, pork, etc.)
--Almonds, walnuts, seeds, etc.
--Fruits and veggies (spinach hides well in nearly everything)
--Eggs, bacon, sausage and similar loveliness
This seems like a challenging eating style but it is VERY satisfying if done right. Imagine a dinner of steak and eggs with cheesy cauliflower mash, and a side of tomato slices with fresh mozzarella. Or beef stroganoff with zucchini "noodles" instead of pasta, and a spinach side salad with red wine vinegar, olive oil, black olives, diced onion, cherry tomatoes and pepperoni.
For every meal you eat now, there are pasty "Paleo" variations that are extremely satisfying.
This combination of intermittent fasting and regulated Paleo will work wonders for weight loss, and it transitions perfectly into a lifestyle when the weight loss is done. When you reach your goal weight you simply eat using Paleo each night until satiety.
A great side bonus is that this approach is also healthy.
It is not unreasonable to say that a 270 pound man who is eating 4000 calories per day is consuming perhaps 100-120 grams of protein, a lot of bad fats and an immense amount of junk carbs.
To switch this man to even a modest bodybuilding plan he would be bumped down around to 130 to 175 grams of carbs, give or take. This is probably 1/3rd the amount of carbs he had eaten previously.
Paleo or low carb aside, carb manipulation is the foundation of most calorie-reduced diet plans - if strength and muscle building are in the equation, which for this question, they are.
Protein intake remains the same, or even increases slightly when cutting. Fat intake (percentage wise) remains the same. The only variable that is manipulated substantially is carb intake.
Most strength/bodybuilding diets are lower carb, more natural foods, and generally healthier fats. This in itself is a huge improvement.
The difference between a conventional bodybuilding/strength cutting diet plans and a Paleo approach might be 100 carbs give or take. This is not a huge divide in my opinion.
I'm not overweight...but I lose (percentage wise) massive amounts of bodyweight all the time and continually get stronger.....There are plenty of training programs and diets that will work....So my plan for this person would be this: Find a training program and diet that you like and has been proven and stick with it.....stay disciplined....have the right mentality.....If you are already overweight, just changing the diet and being active will help you lose...the part about getting stronger really in my mind comes from jst having the right mentality...I know I am not being scientific here, but at the end of the day the mental aspect of training in general, for ANYTHING, is a key role....This may exclusively be my opinion, but I think a lot of people end up being overweight bc of the fact that they do not have the mentality developed to be fit or achieve any level of fitness or goal....this also obviously can create a deeper issue and I am only scratching the surface (whats their schedule? their environment? Their monetary means? ect.) on the factors that can play into a person's mentality, but again I think I would encourage just sticking to something and being consistent and try and help them develop the right mindset about their training.....again not very scientific.....but I walked around at 170...walked into a meet on meet day at 148, weighed in the day before at 137....and squatted 700....a 40lbs PR...all by following those general guidlines....obviously things vary from person to person....but having the right mindset never does!
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